Reclaiming the East Fields

It's been a deluge around here these past several days so our progress on the garden in general has halted. Facilities Manager has steadily been plucking away at the hard jobs, however, over the course of the past several weeks. Here is one I have a few photos of, so thought I should share his progress with the world.
Although not a glamorous subject, clearing land is a necessity for part of our property. What we've been looking at for the better part of a year has been primarily the western half of our property that is ornamental in nature. The east fields as we call them is where our eventual vegetable garden and small, very small orchard will go. We also hope to someday have bees and a small greenhouse. David has been working very very hard these past few months clearing areas of brush and dead trees.
This is the view from last year. That maple, straight ahead was diseased and therefore removed.

Here, looking south and east, you can see the beginnings of the Mega Brush Pile in the center.

There it is again, Mega Brush Pile, hiding behind the oak tree. This is from last November; you can still see the labyrinth intact on the right.

Here is Mega Pile looking north from earlier this summer with blackberries starting to take root and sprout.

This is that same big leaf maple pictured in the first photo. It went from a lush green tree to this in a matter of weeks in the middle of summer.

Here shown in a wider shot are the maple and the Mega Pile. The field in the foreground is where the vegetable garden will go, at least part of it. We have a cover crop of crimson clover planted now to help suppress weeds.

Mega Pile, even after David had been at it, taking it apart to burn portions.

There's Facilities Manager taking down the last of the maple tree. Go, FM, go!!

Here are some of his piles along with branches from the maple tree.

Here you can see it starting to open up. The stump is what's left of the diseased maple.

This was the beginning of the blackberry removal process. All the shrubs seen on the left are now gone.

Here's what happened to all those logs, by the way. 

Oh, look at that. MEGA PILE is gone. Wow. We've always had a Mega Pile, it was here when we bought the property. The beautiful oak tree is dead center, the remnants of the maple tree is to the right. Let's revisit the before photo:

What a difference. 

Here it is again, after. The trees to the left of the oak tree will generally remain. I would like to keep a woodland area intact and wild for the critters. Everything south or to the right of the oak tree will be cleared for cultivation and food production. When we eventually get a greenhouse or hoop house it will go right about here, to the left of the oak.

Here's the whole shebang from the south looking north.

From the north looking south. The Mega Pile once sat on the right where the dark spot is.

From a distance, by the labyrinth. What you don't see is the giant pile and the ugly dead maple tree.

Standing where Mega Pile once was, I just liked this view looking west. You can see the back of Casa Azul (my garden shed) and three large native trees all in a row: big leaf maple, Douglas fir and Oregon white oak, all on the western half of the property.

My new friend, eastern oak tree. I don't think I had ever been able to touch it before....thanks, Facilities Manager David!

 OK, not the best "before" shot but you can see the green tarp over Mega Pile on the upper left and the trunk of the maple just behind it.

This is sunrise over the area now. No pile, no dead maple, just a fence dividing the property in two. 

The fence will come down and the whole garden will become one. For now, we have focused on one area at a time, the only way we logically know how to deal with all of this. Do it in bits. When that fence does finally come down, although a small gesture, it unites the whole and opens up all kinds of new avenues for us and our imagination. What will the veggie garden look like? What will a dozen or so fruit trees look like in our tiny orchard? How about having bee hives around? The paths...they will connect to the veggie garden and the east fields. It will, I think, feel like the property we have been longing to live in, on, and from. We're just one step closer now.

That's it for this week at Chickadee Gardens. As always, thank you for reading and happy gardening!


  1. Prep work is always the hardest and most important, whether gardening or painting your house. Kudos to David for taking it on.

    1. Oh, the glamorous life we all lead....haha....well, it will pay off someday, right? :)

  2. So much work! Your Facility Manager's diligence is impressive.

    1. He is my treasure, very diligent indeed. I am a lucky woman!

  3. Anonymous2:27 PM PDT

    Looks like you could make good use of a wood chipper. I bought a small electric Patriot a couple years ago and now everything up to 2-3 inches gets chipped for mulch. No more brush piles to encourage the rabbits. You're really making progress and it's so much fun following the transformation.

    1. Ah, yes we could use a wood chipper. We have a small one but it doesn't tackle the big branches. We rented one once and it was fantastic. Thanks for commenting and reading! We appreciate the encouragement so much!

  4. It may not be glamorous, but prep work is so important. And it's exciting to think about all the things that follow! That oak trunk is so fantastically mossy! I love it!

    1. Oh, the oak is special. We have two on this property and they are definitely my favorite, if not for the variety of wildlife they host, also for their scraggly beauty.

  5. Go David! So much progress...

  6. Oooh so industrious! Ok, so I have several mega piles around here and have noticed that the ones that have been sitting around for *cough* years have especially good wormy soil underneath them. Have you seen that too?

    1. Oh, yes - it's a thing. The microbes and worms and good critters LOVE a good woody fact where we spread the shredded wood from the chipper has amazing soil underneath.

  7. The birds will miss the brush pile. Any chance you can make a smaller one for them somewhere? Good luck getting rid of the blackberries.

    1. Yes, they will miss the big one which makes me a little sad. We made sure no bird nests were in there first, by the way.

      We have a few others out of sight around the property - absolutely! Birds do need cover and a source for bugs. Rest assured we have many brush pile areas for the birds throughout, I just don't tend to show them in my photos...maybe I should! Just the giant ugly blackberry-ridden one is gone now.


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